Spatio-Temporal Environments


After re-reading my previous musing, it seems as if my fatigue might have been partially responsible for skipping the past two months. Prior to that re-reading, I was sure that it was because of my pre-occupation with other pressures, responsibilities, and delights that took precedence over musing. In any case, I am ready to muse again.

One change that occurred during the past two months, and which has a bearing on the developing story here, is my intellectual relationship with Greylorn. We have had a strong enough difference of opinion on the interpretation of Beon Theory to induce us to separate our efforts instead of merging them as I reported earlier.

Our differences led us not only to quibbles, but out-and-out arguments that stymied our progress. We had envisioned developing our merged ideas in the Beon Theory section of the forum. After a few postings by each of us, it became clear that it would be better if I spun off my own topic to explain my speculations, and Greylorn would continue to describe Beon Theory as he sees it in his original topic.

Each of us can still draw from the ideas of the other, and if the divisive issues could later be resolved, a merger of the ideas might still be possible.

As it stands, these musings are my own ideas, influenced by Beon Theory along with other sources of ideas, and they will continue to represent my ideas. If there is a merger later, it will be incorporated into these musings. Reading these, then, will give you insight only into my thinking and only secondarily into any influential ideas from other sources.

When we ended last time, I was about to examine a number of components of consciousness with the goal in mind to identify a spectrum of capability for each one. The end goal was to be able to explain how it could make sense that there was no consciousness present at the very origin of reality, and yet, there is now a rich and powerful set of conscious capability in reality. I see this explanation as involving a fairly complex set of spatial and temporal environments that developed over time (i.e. in one or more temporal dimensions.) Before we go much further, that complex environment needs to be explained.

In striving for ultimate simplicity for the beginning, I think that Greylorn's description of a four-dimensional Raw Energy/Aeon environment is more complex than necessary. I favor a one- or two-dimensional environment at the very start just for the sake of simplicity. If it would make any sense, I would even prefer a zero-dimensional start. That difference, incidentally, was one of the deadlocked issues that contributed to the splitting apart of my collaboration efforts with Greylorn.

I have previously mentioned, in the description of what I called the Transfer of Omniscience, the notion of constructing additional dimensions of reality by using fractal geometry. Let me expand on that idea a little here.

If we assume that reality began as a one- or two-dimensional environment, and we agree that we currently find ourselves in a four-dimensional space-time environment that seems also to be an embedded manifold in even higher-dimensional space-time, maybe as high as eleven-dimensional, then it is obvious that reality went through a growth process in order for these extra dimensions to come into being. It is that pattern of growth I would like to explore now.

In our current world, we can observe some facts that might suggest how that development took place. One important fact is that our bodies, our buildings, our earth, our galaxy, and everything else that we can see or touch, exist in three spatial dimensions and exhibit changes over one temporal dimension.

We can also infer the fact that our 4-D space-time is a manifold embedded in at least a 5-D space-time continuum, and possibly even higher.

In our 3-D world, we observe that there are brains which seem to control the behavior of the host organisms that contain the brains.

Another observable fact is that the behavior of some of these organisms, viz. humans, leads to the construction not only of 3-D artifacts, but also 2-D and 1-D artifacts. Let me explain.

We build a host of 3-D artifacts such as pencils, toasters, and buildings by manipulating the 3-D stuff of our world. For many, if not most of these, consciousness is required as a necessary part of the design and construction of the artifact.

It is an open question, at least for those of us who have not closed our minds around the materialistic view of reality, as to exactly where and how consciousness influences the behavior which results in the design and construction of artifacts. It is in explaining the "where" and "how" of that question that is the primary purpose of this inquiry.

Setting that question aside for now, we can observe some other pertinent facts about our reality. One is that we "create" many 2-D artifacts.

Some people, Greylorn being one, might quibble with this assertion. It is true that when we produce a painting, which we might claim is a 2-D artifact, that it is "really" a 3-D artifact because the canvas has thickness as do the layers of paint on top of that.

But, for our purposes here, this objection is not important and we will ignore it. We are dealing with concepts and we can clearly consider the concept of paintings, photographs, shadows, computer monitor screens, and movie theater screens to be two dimensional artifacts without getting bogged down in the real details of the physical structure of such things.

In addition to constructing 2-D artifacts, some of them, like shadows or movie images, change over time. So the complete artifact could be seen as 3-D with two spatial and one temporal dimension.

Going one dimension lower, we can consider the track on a DVD disk to be a 1-D artifact. Let's say the track contains a recording of a rendition of a Beethoven Symphony.

If we again add one temporal dimension to this artifact and connect the DVD player to a speaker, the displacement of the speaker cone will vary in one spatial dimension over time such that we will be able to hear and perceive the marvelous sound of the symphony. The playing of the symphony in this way is a 2-D artifact consisting of one spatial and one temporal dimension.

It is important to note here in passing that the ability to appreciate the beauty of the music is an aspect of consciousness, and of consciousness alone. Nothing else has that ability.

The same goes for the appreciation of the beauty of a painting or of a sunset, but I digress.

The point here is that 3-D beings can "create", i.e. design and construct, 3-D, 2-D and 1-D artifacts. Or, if we include the temporal dimension, 4-D beings can "create" 4-D, 3-D, 2-D and 1-D artifacts. We should note, however, that in the design and construction of some of these artifacts, very elaborate 4-D systems must be designed, constructed, and operated in order for the lower-dimensional artifacts to appear. Think of all that is required in order to perform, record, and play back that Beethoven Symphony, or to project the movie in the theater.

In general, the idea is that conscious beings in an n-dimensional spatio-temporal environment can construct impressive artifacts in m-dimensional environments where 0Going the other direction, i.e. constructing higher-dimensional artifacts, is a little trickier and we don't have good examples to draw from. That is, for example, it is difficult, if not impossible, for us 3-D beings to construct a 4-D artifact. We can imagine them and even design them, but we can't (yet) construct them.

We are able to design some of them. For example we know how to design and build 3-D object such that if it were taken into a 4-D spatial environment it could be folded up to form a 4-D box, but we can't (yet) construct them, i.e. we can't fold up the box. (Salvador Dali painted pictures of this object. It consists of a central (3-D) cube, with six additional cubes glued to it, one on each face, and then an eighth cube glued to the outside of one of the six cubes.)

We would like to apply these generalizations to both higher and lower dimensions in our explanation of the development of the spatio-temporal environments of reality.

Earlier I mentioned the possibility of using fractal geometry to increase the dimensionality of space. This is also very tricky. Rather than imagining how to build a wormhole through 4-D space by building some kind of "stargate" or other space-warping structure, let's drop down a dimension.

Let's ask whether and how Flatlanders might use fractals to construct a 3-D artifact from what they have at their disposal.

The first step would be to construct a 3-D space in which the 3-D artifact could reside. The hard part is figuring out how to bend their own space. That is, if Flatland is resident on a sheet of paper, how could the Flatlanders make a crease in the paper? Maybe there is some law of Flatland Physics that allows them to do it.

That is not so preposterous because in our 4-D space-time world, General Relativity tells us that we can bend our 3-D space simply by aggregating mass in one location. For example, the mass of the Sun bends our space in the vicinity of the Sun.

So let's suppose that Flatlanders could somehow make a 90 crease in their sheet of paper (i.e. in their 2-D manifold). Then by successively creasing their space by a series of parallel creases and which in cross-section (i.e. perpendicular to the creases) conform to a space-filling fractal (Google "space-filling fractal" to find examples) they can construct an effective 3-D environment.

The environment will be "effective", however, only if there is effective contact between parts of their space that end up arbitrarily close to one another as a result of the fractal curve. That would allow cause and effect relationships to occur between what would otherwise be distant and unrelated points of the original Flatland space.

So, conceptually, conscious beings in an n-dimensional spatio-temporal environment can construct impressive artifacts in m-dimensional environments where 0And, if they can construct n+1-dimensional spaces, they should be able to construct n+1-dimensional artifacts in those spaces.

The next step is to suggest a high-level description of how the dimensionality of reality unfolded beginning with a one-dimensional starting point. The description will resemble an Escherian staircase with both ascending and descending flights that may branch in either direction. That will provide an image that will allow us to imagine our particular position in the reality we experience: we are on the third spatial level experiencing the first temporal level with as many as seven (7+4=11) levels above us and with our 2-D and 1-D artifacts suggesting the existence of subordinate dimensions.

Following that, we will have a framework on which we can place the various aspects of consciousness and speculate on how they are distributed. We expect that no such aspect will show up at the lowest level, that our own conscious experience will comfortably fit in Beon one level above us, with a two-way link to our brain, and that there will be a place higher up that will sufficiently explain the consciousness responsible for the design and construction of galaxies and living organisms.

That will all have to wait for later musings. Thanks to everyone who has read this.

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